Kieran McGeeney’s continuous service record for the interdistrict game continues. From Armagh player to Kildare manager, McGeeney is now back at home to do the job that many feel he was destined for long before he left the district’s number six shirt. me.
And ahead of this weekend’s crucial clash with his former side at the Athletic Grounds, he will have to face some familiar faces on the sidelines.
Andriú Mac Lochlainn played under McGeeney and credits the Armaghs for making Kildare one of the most steadfast forces around.
“When you look back at it, we feel like anyone who has trained the mindset of, ‘oh, this year could be our year,’” he says.
“But in hindsight when you started working with Kieran and we were competitive, you look back at some of those periods and think we weren’t really in the races there. We got to the Leinster final in ’03 against Laois but after that we weren’t competitive in terms of consistency or performance. We were a team that could play great football but we forgot the games and let the teams turn the tables.
“So I like to think that we put our pride back in the shirt in terms of competitiveness, that we are not a team that deserves to be disturbed and that we are a team that can play football when they are not. would like. And it’s a nod back to Micko’s team with Glenn (Ryan) and (Anthony) Rainbow and that crew, they put pride back in the jersey and they’re not a team that deserves to be disturbed. . We lost that for a long time.”
The Kildare of the McGeeney era had its ups and downs. They’ve reached the All-Ireland quarterfinals on five occasions along with a semi-final in 2010. They’ve had plenty of near misses along the way. Benny Coulter’s goal in the 2010 quarter-final was controversial.
There are disappointing defeats in Leinster against the likes of Wicklow while the Seánie Johnston saga do not make anyone favors. They also winded up with Dublin on a couple of occasions and saw Kevin Cassidy’s magic spot knock them out in 2011 but, for a Division 2 overall win, the silver trophy passed them by.
And while clubs ultimately voted him controversially, Mac Lochlainn believes the best he left behind at Kildare was a legacy for which the players were expected to take responsibility. As they progress, senior members often lead video sessions.
They have also raised their own funds to equip their own gym in a unit within the K Club, which has not been used since the Ryder Cup venue and sponsors training breaks. surname.
Mac Lochlainn recalls: “He made a good impression on Batman.
“He had open trials across the county which I always thought was a good thing. It’s a different approach, very competitive training, a lot of content based on football, match scenarios, teams selected by form with an open panel. So if you don’t play well, you can be transferred.
“Sometimes across all the code you have console players and maybe they don’t really add anything. Others who don’t form the group can have a big influence on the group and there are others who just stick around and he’ll change that culture a bit too.
“And we had a very competitive second team and that was his business. We don’t have a junior team, we have a second team, and I know it’s really just framing but that framing is important – they train the same night as us, sometimes right next to us. and if we need the numbers, someone will pull to see who’s playing well and join a live match. “
Mac Lochlainn looks back on some of the games and wonders what might have happened when certain calls went their way, not least Coulter’s goal or Tomás O’Connor’s goal against Donegal. allowed to stand or get free in 2011 against him or not Dublin.
“I strongly believe that even in business there is always room for more. So there are things that, perhaps personally, I would do a little differently with hindsight. And I don’t know but I imagine with Kieran’s type of person he could have done things slightly differently and as a collective come together to put you in a stronger position.
“But at the same time, I don’t think we can do much more than that. And with all sports, when you fall to the last few teams, there needs to be an element of luck as the bounce of a ball is all that separates a team.
“That’s probably one of the things that I’m very proud of. You try and hand over the jersey in a better place and we got to the point where the teams couldn’t get past us, they couldn’t get past us, the teams couldn’t get past us, we had can play any way you want to play . And if one team plays better than you on that day it’s football, it happens. But it was never because of a lack of goodwill or because we were weak.”
Mac Lochlainn, director of Murray & Spelman Financial Services based in Kildare and Galway, will turn 39 later this year. He is still active with Ellistown and believes Ryan and his management team are exactly what the current board needs.
“Like Kieran, people know what kind of steel is in that management team as players and they can pick players with similar characteristics. You would expect the people on the county board to have a certain level of football ability but it is the (what) in the beginning and then what separates the teams.
“I think that’s a plus of the way we’re playing at the moment. We’re trying to win games, instead of trying not to lose, have a little bit of penetration and don’t keep the ball for the sake of keeping it and going from left to right and right to left, that drains my life.
“They were trying to put the ball forward and had resilience in the back, trying to block, Shea Ryan had the ball off the goal line there (against Dublin) so they were working hard and wanting and and all those attributes are there and that’s what pleases me the most.
“The boys are wearing their hearts on their sleeves, that’s all you can really ask for.”
https://www.independent.ie/sport/gaelic-games/gaelic-football/we-are-trying-to-win-games-rather-than-trying-not-to-lose-former-kildare-star-andriu-mac-lochlainn-41429823.html ‘We’re trying to win games, instead of trying not to lose’ – former Kildare star Andriú Mac Lochlainn